Listen to the Trees: Use Your Creativity to Find Positive Solutions

This last fall my husband, some friends and I took a trip to hike around the Oregon and California Redwoods. We spent four days gazing upward, mouths open, eyes wide, amazed and alight at the "majestic," "massive," "towering," "colossal," trees (the guidebooks worked hard to find lots of appropriate descriptors). One thing we noticed was how creative the trees were in finding ways to survive. In such dense growth, trees need to find their way to the sun, so we saw countless examples of trees twisting, turning and melding around and with one another to reach the light. Some trees grew together to form multiple trunks. Some wove their big branches in curvaceous forms around the trunks surrounding them. Some developed corkscrew trunks (like in the photo) or grew in all sorts of shapes and directions. Whatever the challenge, many of the trees found a creative way to fulfill their needs for space and sun.

This observation struck me as a great lesson for us humans to follow: using creativity to find positive solutions to our own challenges. The trees didn't limit themselves to either/or (either I grow straight up or I don't). They found creative ways to get their needs met, often in ways that didn't harm the other trees and flora around them.

Our news and our government policies -- and often our own minds -- are filled with either/or thinking. Jobs or environment. Economy or global warming. People or animals. Us or them. Capitalism or chaos. Industrial agriculture is the only way to feed people. Jail is the only way to deal with criminals. I have to keep the job I have or go broke. The only way to fulfill this need is by buying this gadget. We hear and read about it so much, that it seems the only way to react.

We all have the power to use our creativity to generate solutions to our and society's problems. So listen to the trees the next time you find yourself facing what seems like an either/or situation. Get creative. Bend, twist, turn, meld, grow. And reach for the light.

~ Marsha

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Image courtesy John Rakestraw.
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